Tenant asking what kind of dog to get

8 Replies

I usually have a no pet policy. I liked a young couple who saw the house and agreed to be open to them getting a dog as a pet in the future. 

Now they are asking me what dog breed is acceptable. They are willing to work with me. My understanding is that a smaller dog (weight restrictions?) is of lower maintenance and preferred from a landlord perspective. Thoughts on what I should tell them as an acceptable "dog list"?

Also I'll be charging additional pet rent a deposit. How much should I be charging and should I amend the current lease? 

Thanks in advance.

Well you don't want something like a beagle that has a penetrating bark. How much space will the animal have to run around? Some breeds need lots of exercise and will not do well in a house if they don't get it. Huskies are really hairy but pretty laid back. Labs and Golden Retrievers are great pets but "large". Just hard to know. If it were me, I would just give them a list of dogs they can't have and let them pick out their own. I will say that just because a dog is "small" doesn't mean it won't tear the place up. And puppies of any breed are going to be rough on anything they can sink their new teeth into...

Unfortunately, the best dog is a well-trained one with a responsible pet owner, which will be very difficult to insure now that you've okay'd them getting one mid-lease.  I have a strict pet policy -- a well-trained dog, over 1 year (no puppies for sure), breed restrictions per my insurance, vet records showing age, breed, current vaccinations, required city license, and pet interview with landlord (me) or K9 good citizen certificate.  Basically, if you have a well-trained family dog who is well-behaved and not aggressive when I meet them (I ask that they bring the dog to the viewing), then I'm fairly certain I'm getting a responsible pet owner.  The ones who move in and say, Now we want a dog, just get a, Sorry, no, as I've explained my pet policy before signing. If they continue to ask, I show them the early termination clause in the lease and let them know they can use it to leave if they are that intent on getting a dog.  No matter how responsible the owner is, a puppy is more likely than not to damage your house, so definitely no puppies.  And you don't want someone learning how to be a responsible pet owner using your home as the training ground.  

Yes you need to amend the lease. Look on Zillow and click the pets allowed button to get an idea of what people are charging as pet deposits in your area. $250 is standard in my area.

It's hard to say what breed is acceptable. It really depends on the owner. No puppies, they pee everywhere. I have had better luck with bigger dogs than small ones. 

From an insurance perspective, you need to contact your agent. Find out what dogs are on the restricted list for your current carrier. I would also ask them to let you know some other breeds that, while your carrier does not have a problem with, other carriers do. This could be important if you have to move the policy to another company at a later date.

I certainly wouldn't allow a puppy. They require a ton of attention and need to go out 100 times a day. A well behaved larger dog that gets plenty of exercise won't really be any harder on your place than an untrained small dog. Smaller dogs tend to have a harder time going long periods without needing to go out...but they don't require as much exercise usually either. There's pros and cons with every type/size of dog. 

Is this couple married? A lot of times young adults get caught up in the moment while "playing house" and don't realize the amount of work it takes to care for a dog. And then when they split up, the dog winds up in a shelter because neither party wants to care for the dog alone...or at all. My wife and I have rescued 5 dogs over the last couple years, so dog (any animal really) abandonment is a tough subject for me. I'm not saying it would be your fault if they gave the dog up, but it's something that I personally would take into consideration before allowing them to get a dog.

Only allow dogs that are one year old or older.

Smaller, the better. However, there are some small breeds that love to dig, scratch doors, chew trim, dig on carpet, crap everywhere, etc. 

I can't tell you what would be best but I do like that your Tenants are asking for your advice. That demonstrates they are likely to be responsible. Do some research online for best-behaved breeds and then get them a list of suggestions.

From my experience as a PM and as a pet owner, I think the most important consideration is age of the dog; puppies are very destructive. I would also add to this, how responsible the pet owners-to-be are, but it sounds like they are on top of things, considering they are already talking about a future dog and potential restrictions before they've even moved in.

We don't discriminate against any breeds, except to enforce existing municipal ordinances where applicable. We have never had an issue operating like this.

You should add a pet addendum to your lease and explain all the terms; leash rules, picking up waste, provisions for periodic inspections, and most importantly, that the dog must be secured in a crate/kennel when nobody is home. This is a must in case a repair is needed and they give permission to enter while they are out, or it's an emergency situation. If and when a tenant violates this, we charge them back a missed appointment fee because our techs/vendors will not enter a property with an unsecured dog if the owner isn't home to control the animal.

From a landlord's perspective, I would recommend the tenant get this dog.

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